Dugan Arnett, in a feature not brought out nearly enough over at KU Sports, released a recent Football Notebook. Hidden amidst news of Justin Thornton moving back to safety (a move that we'll address in further detail sometime soon), the health of Vernon Brooks and the fact that JUCO transfer Daniel Porter is seeing significant snaps with the second team, making him a viable candidate to backup Jake Sharp, there was a seemingly meaningless snippet -- Kerry Meier will still take snaps with the quarterbacks. It won't be a lot, and it will decline from the past couple of years, but it's still meaningful.
Now, this has just about nothing to do with Kerry Meier and his potential production at wide receiver. He's a bright kid, and he'll be able to perform at wideout this year just as he has in year's past. And any practice for him at wide receiver is beneficial, because he is still relatively new to the position, and still (I'm sure) learning new stuff every day. With that being said, there is still a reason to worry.
Mark Mangino doesn't trust Kale Pick. For that matter, he doesn't trust Jordan Webb or Christian Matthews, both true freshmen, or Chase Knighton or Jacob Morse, both walk-ons. For separate reasons, that makes sense, as you don't really want to entrust your offense, particularly one so dependent on incredible quarterback play, to either a true freshman or walk-on. Now, redshirt freshman isn't really high on the list, either, but Kale Pick was a good recruit. No Blaine Gabbert or nothing, but he did originally commit to Arkansas, who at least likes to believe that have a long, prosperous football history, and he was expected to be the backup starting this season. He had last year to learn the ropes, all of that good stuff -- now it was time for him to step up, see some garbage time action (which he'll probably still see), take the next step developmentally and be ready to adequately replace Hot Toddy in 2010.
That was the plan, at least. And while it's too early to sound the alarm quite yet, it remains disconcerting that, at least in Mangino's mind, he hasn't taken that step to "trusted backup". Just like the saying goes, you have to walk before you run. This was Kale Pick's big moment to take those first couple of steps. The parents had seen their baby make progress for awhile now, and this was to be the big day, the big moment that this cute, little baby would start walking towards his dad. The video camera was out, the friends were over hovering behind the couch, the mom and dad were making all of the baby noises and squeaks and squeals to try and urge him on. But, instead, he fell to the ground.
It's kind of like that. It isn't like it was a once-in-a-lifetime deal, as both the metaphorical baby and the real-life Kale Pick will have plenty of other chances to begin walking and, hopefully sooner rather than later for good ol' Kale, running. But it's something to keep an eye on.
If Kale can't take the necessary steps, we're in trouble in 2010. That goes without saying. Hopefully, after a few good game-week performances running the scout team, or whatever, and some solid (or stellar?) garbage action against Northern Colorado -- and hopefully another school or two in the non-con --, he can become a full-fledged backup. Then, he won't have to take multiple steps just to get to a necessary point to start next season.
There are some positives, though, as well. For one, because of Kerry's unique situation where, while still officially being listed as the backup QB he'll only see handfuls of snaps a practice, Kale should still see the regular amount of snaps in practice a backup quarterback would take. So, the opportunity to get better is certainly there. And for two, it is kind of like those metaphorical parents had triplets -- there's also Jordan Webb and Christian Matthews that could, conceivably, be ready next season, along with those aforementioned walk-ons, Knighton and Morse.
Of course, maybe I'm just reading way too far into it. Maybe Pick is doing super in practice, he just gives Mangino the weebie-jeebies. Or, maybe this is all a psychological ploy, and Pick is ready. Who really knows, unless you're Mark Mangino (who I am certainly not). But, whatever the case, I just hope someone, anyone, will be ready to replace Reesing by next season. It will probably be Pick. And if it is, he'll have to take a step or four forward.
Enough worry about 2010, though. Let's go back to the season at hand.